updated 2 Feb 2011, 07:36
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Wed, Feb 02, 2011
Urban, The Straits Times
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Club scenesters are the new style icons
by Karen Tee

Over-exposed celebrities and models are, well, over. An edgier, tougher crowd is calling the tune as style icons - DJs and club owners. These creatures of the night, with their 'anything goes' attitude to dressing up, have captured the imagination of fashionistas the world over - so much so that some are even feted with coveted front-row seats at top runway shows such as Dior.

They snub familiar labels in favour of indie or up-and-coming names like American designer Benjamin Cho and French brand American Retro.

Instead of safe, boring cocktail dresses, you can count on them to work standout pieces such as sculpted dresses and bold-shouldered blazers.

Take New York-based DJ trio The Misshapes, who have gone from indie to mainstream.

The group, which comprises Geordon Nicol, 25, Leigh Lezark, 25, and Greg Krelenstein, 30, are bona fide fashion darlings who have graced American Vogue and the style pages of The New York Times.

Since they formed the group in 2002, their parties in New York City have been a hit with the alternative crowd, which includes indie actress Chloe Sevigny, quirky model Agyness Deyn and flamboyant British fashion designer Henry Holland.

Not only do they spin regularly at fashion shows and events, Lezark, a waifish clotheshorse with razor-sharp features and flashing eyes, has also parlayed her DJ cred into a successful modelling career. She has appeared in ad campaigns for brands including Mango and H&M.

On The Misshapes' appeal, Nicol says: 'We are a group of misfits but together, we have become each other's family. It is this philosophy that appeals to all the people that don't fit in.'

He and Lezark were in Singapore last month to spin at the first anniversary party of local boutique Blackmarket at Velvet Underground.

Of course, this phenomenon of club scenesters stealing the limelight from fashionistas is not new.

It all started in the 1960s with American pop artist Andy Warhol and Studio 54, the New York City club he frequented.

His posse of bohemian starlets such as Edie Sedgwick were the toast of New York society.

Fast forward to the late 1980s and early 1990s when the Club Kids, a group of outrageously dressed party-goers, ruled the roost in New York City.

Some notable names from this era include Richie Rich, who is now one-half of fashion designer duo Heatherette; and Amanda Lepore, a model whose claim to fame is being muse to American fashion photographer David LaChapelle.

Then in the early noughties, The Misshapes hit upon the great idea of hiring photographers to take pictures of the revellers at their parties and uploading them instantly onto the Internet.

This sparked off the latest revolution in the nightlife scene. Now, no night out at a fashionable club is complete without a few party photographers roaming the dance floor and snapping pictures of the coolest clubbers.

As a result, clubs have become the newest runways for fashion lovers to show off their latest and greatest outfits.

Leading the pack are the stars of nightspots - the DJs, club owners and performers.

'Club fashion and over-the-top dressing are just so much more interesting to look at compared to everyday wear,' says Bobby Luo, one of the five owners of home-grown hotspot The Butter Factory in One Fullerton.

The 38-year-old, who is known for his quirky dress sense - he has no qualms wearing patchwork masks, oversized top hats and brightly coloured shades on a night out - adds: 'You need a lot of creativity, humour and flair to pull off an over-the-top look.'

To get up close and personal with other stylish nightlife stars, check out the annual beach party extravaganza ZoukOut next Saturday, which will play host to 20 DJs from around the world.

As Warhol, the one who started it all, once said: 'Everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.'

For club scenesters, it sure looks like their 15 minutes is now.

The new crowd:


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This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

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